Unofficial results of BUT elections reflect a win for Wilson

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Unofficial results from the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) elections on Thursday revealed that Belinda Wilson will return as president of the union, which represents approximately 4,000 educators throughout the country.

Wilson told Eyewitness News Online shortly after 7:00 p.m. on Thursday that initial unofficial results have shown that she will return in her role as president of the union, but she was unable to confirm if the remaining candidates on her team had secured their seats.

There were 38 persons vying for 13 positions on the union’s executive team.

Voting started at 8:00 a.m. Thursday and culminated at 5:00 p.m.

Wilson told Eyewitness News Online that while results were slowly trickling in, she remains confident that her “A Team” will return to lead the union.

“I believe that I have a very strong, talented and young team and among this group I see the union going forward,” she said.

Wilson said her confidence rests on the numerous accomplishments of the BUT, under her leadership, over the past 12 months.

“Right now, as we speak, we are at the negotiating table and I’m leading those negotiations, she pointed out.

“We have a multimillion dollar building in Grand Bahama that is completed and in operation.

“We also have been able to produce the teachers’ union history book, which gives history from 1947 to 2017.”

She also noted that her “A Team’s” plans for the year ahead are quite progressive.

“On the drawing board now are plans t to build a new multi-million dollar building here to replace Walker’s Hall on Bethel Avenue,” she said.

“We also want to create a subdivision because we have a number of members who are looking for housing. So, we want to create a subdivision to begin offering that option.”

But, there are a list of independents who mustered up the courage to run against Wilson’s team.

Shirelle Johnson, a teacher, threw her support behind independent candidate Kameesha Wells.

“Persons want the best candidate for the job, not necessarily a slate of candidates,” Johnson noted.

“We love the president and she has been doing a phenomenal job; but I am getting feedback that persons want individuals who will be competent for the job.”

Union members who cast their votes yesterday revealed that they are happy to have the democratic right to elect a team to fight on their behalf.

“It gives us a voice and a chance to make the decisions that we want to make and what we want to see happen in education,” said Bethany Smith, a teacher at Garvin Tynes Primary.

“Having a union backs you and gives you the chance to be able to stand in the classroom without being victimized or being placed under orders that derails you and your rights,” said Pleasant Pennerman a teacher, D.W. Davis.

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